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By Richard E. Caves

Media critics continually disparage the standard of programming produced via the U.S. tv undefined. yet why the produces what it does is a query mostly unasked. it really is this query, on the crux of yankee pop culture, that Switching Channels explores. some time past twenty-five years, the growth of cable and satellite tv for pc platforms has reworked tv. Richard Caves examines the economics of this phenomenon--and the character and common sense of the printed networks' reaction to the incursion of cable television, specially the shift to low-cost unscripted video game and "reality" exhibits and "news" magazines. a proof of those adjustments, Caves argues, calls for an figuring out of 2 very assorted sectors: the "creative industry," which produces courses; and the economic channels, which deliver them to audience. His booklet indicates how vendors' judgment of profitability determines the standard and personality of the courses the artistic produces. This choice, writes Caves, depends upon the quantity and kinds of audience that a number of courses can allure and advertisers' willingness to pay for his or her consciousness, in addition to the association of the networks that package deal courses, the vendors that transmit them, and the bargains those events strike with each other.

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Additional resources for Switching Channels: Organization and Change in TV Broadcasting

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A successful pilot wins an order for a certain number of episodes, and it also opens the chance that the series might run long enough to accumulate the ninety to one hundred episodes needed to make it viable in syndication—renting the series for rebroadcast on TV stations or cable net- 34 • TV PROGRAMS AS CREATIVE GOODS works (Chapter 2). The license fee paid by the network is by custom determined as a fraction of the supplier’s cost of producing the program. The reservation price for a (risk-neutral) supplier would be its cost of production minus the present value of its expected net revenues from syndication.

Each agreed to take two series. If one network passed on a project, the other got first refusal. ), operating since 1986 from a base at the Warner Bros. studio, extended his producing agreement with the NBC network. NBC committed to take up to five series. 23 Twentieth Century Fox Television recruited three movie directors, including John Woo, on development deals, committing them to direct the pilot of any program that came to fruition but not to manage any ongoing series. 24 Greenblatt– Janollari’s partners formed this new independent producing company in 1998, successfully launching three TV series on that year’s prime-time schedule.

60 While the pilot represents the template for a series, once it is picked up by a network, developmental effort does not cease when the production of regular episodes begins. 62 This description of the market for prime-time programming pertains to practices that prevailed for a quarter-century but now are in the throes of major changes, most obviously the newfound popularity of “reality” programs. The bases for this popularity, considered in Chapter 4, certainly include their low cost and simplicity of production, which has attracted new, independent producing firms.

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